Impromptu takes a look at the redemptive power of food, wine, music and love through the eyes of a modern man. Chuck is in his element, cooking and listening to Chopin with his baby daughter, imagining what he will say to his wife Sylvie once he can get her to slow down long enough to have a real conversation. All goes awry when Sylvie spontaneously invites a group of colleagues over to celebrate a work victory. The festivities begin to spiral out of control, and Chuck must find his way through a planned diner à deux that has turned into pandemonium.
Filmmaker Bruce Alcock continues in the fine tradition of beloved food films such as Babette’s Feast, Big Night and Like Water for Chocolate, using the preparation of a meal as a vehicle for exploring the grand themes of love and life. The loosely flowing movements of his simple and colourful line drawings suggest Alexander Calder wire sculptures come to life. Like the piano impromptu from which the film takes its name, the animation embodies the fleeting occurrence of those inner eureka moments that carry us forward—and bring order to the chaos of life’s rich pageant.
The film is cute and quirky with a whimsical, unique style of 3D animation, inspired by filmmaker Bruce Alcock’s fascination with the 1080 Recipes cookbook. Bruce shares one of his favourite recipes for lamb below.
Best with a frenched rack cut into lambsicles, also works with regular chops. Broil or barbeque on high heat.
- frenched rack of lamb, cut into lambsicles
- 4 cloves garlic
- coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon of cardamom seeds
- a dozen juniper berries
- pinch of chipotle
- olive oil
- dry white vermouth
- juice of half a lemon
- fresh rosemary
- fresh bay leaf
- Crush with a mortar and pestle into a coarse paste: 4 cloves garlic, coarse salt, peppercorns, a teaspoon of cardamom seeds, a dozen juniper berries, a pinch of chipotle.
- Combine in a mixing bowl with 3 big glugs of olive oil and the same of dry white vermouth, and the juice of half a lemon or tangerine. Add two big sprigs of rosemary and a bay leaf (fresh is best).
- Squish around the lamb chops until well coated and leave them to sit, the longer the better the taste and more tender the chops. I like about 6 hours, but even no sitting time will work.
- BBQ high for 2-3 minutes a side and serve.
Are you a foodie and a film fan? Be sure to catch the world premiere of Impromptu when it screens at TIFF 2013:
- Wednesday September 11 @ 9:15 PM / TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
- Thursday September 12 @ 2:30 PM / TIFF Bell Lightbox 4
For more information, visit Impromptu on NFB.ca.
A growing trend, sous vide cooking (pronounced “soo-veed”) involves using submerging vacuum-sealed food in pouches into a precisely-controlled water bath held at a constant temperature. The SousVide Supreme is the world’s first water oven designed specifically to bring the extraordinary sous vide cooking method into the home kitchen.
We recently had a chance to try out the sous vide method of cooking at home using the SousVide Supreme from Cedarlane Culinary (the Canadian distributor). We decided to give it a try using bone-in rib steaks. Our triple AAA steaks were thawed from frozen and 1.5″ inches thick. We powered up the SousVide Supreme, and set the temperature to 57 Degrees Celsius. While the machine got up to temperature, we seasoned the steak with the montreal steak spice. We placed the steak into the provided vacuum seal pouches, along with a piece of butter. We sealed the steaks using the provided SousVide Supreme Vacuum Sealer. Once the Supreme reached temperature, we submerged the steaks into the water bath, set the timer on the unit for 60 minutes, and placed the cover.
After an hour, the timer went off and the meat was ready to be removed. We pull out the steak from the water bath, and cut open the pouches. The meat came out looking extremely tender and perfectly cooked. One thing about SousVide cooking is that unlike traditional methods it doesn’t brown or sear the meat. As a result, although ready to eat, the meat can sometimes look unappetizing. A quick sear will easily remedy this.
We chose to sear our steak on the grill. With the barbecue set at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, we placed the steak on the grill for just a few minutes to make grill marks and a perfect sear. Although not required by the SousVide cooking method, we let the steaks rest for a few minutes before cutting into them.
The meat was perfectly cooked, succulent, tender, and juicy. We served it alongside roasted potatoes, eggplant parmigiana and caesar salad. The SousVide is an easy and precise way to cook meats, fish, vegetables and more, perfectly every time. Looking forward to cooking with the SousVide Supreme again!
The SousVide Supreme kit we used was the SousVide Supreme Deluxe Promo Package (which retails for $549.00). The promo package includes everything you need to start cooking sous vide today, including the SousVide Supreme water oven, vacuum sealer, pouches, the Easy Sous Vide cookbook, and more. The push-button simple SousVide Supreme allows anyone to prepare meals with maximum flavour and nutrition that will be cooked to perfection and ready when you are. The result is food of incomparable taste and texture: steak perfectly cooked edge-to-edge, vibrant vegetables, juicy tender chicken breasts, and ribs with the meat literally falling off the bone.
The steps to sous vide cooking are simple: season and vacuum-seal your food, drop it into the SousVide Supreme at the desired temperature, and walk away. Unlike the hostile high temperatures of stovetop, oven, or grill, the SousVide Supreme gently and precisely cooks food to its perfect serving temperature and cannot overcook. Foolproof gourmet results with push-button simplicity.
SousVide Supreme Features:
- Hands-off, time-saving meal preparation. Just set it and walk away
- Easy and foolproof. Never overcook a meal again. Perfect results, every time.
- Gourmet taste. Capture the full, TRUE flavor of foods
- Saves you money. Tenderizes inexpensive cuts.
- Added nutritional value. Natural juices and nutrients are retained in the food-safe vacuum seal bag.
- Easy clean-up. No messy pots and pans. Just empty and wipe down the interior with a soft cloth.
- Energy-efficient operation. Uses energy equivalent to a 60W light bulb once at target temperature. Quiet operation.
- Precise temperature control to 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius)
SousVide Supreme Tips and Tricks:
One of the best things about the SousVide Supreme and sous vide cooking in general is that it is very simple to create gourmet meals at home with minimal hands-on time and almost no risk of overcooking! Cedarlane Culinary shares a handful of tricks and tips that will help you cook SousVide successfully one your very first attempts.
Cooking Times and Temperatures
- Pork chops or tenderloin at 60 degrees C for a couple of hours at least.
- Steaks and Chicken breasts can do for an hour. Medium rare steak is 57 degrees C and Chicken should be done at 64 degrees C.
- Beef roast at 57 or a couple degrees higher if you like a bit more well done. Do for 4-8 hours.
Sealing & Cooking Liquids and Liquid-Rich Foods
- If the liquid or sauce is freezable, put it in the freezer beforehand to solidify it and add it to your pouch of food while in it’s frozen state. It won’t take long to start melting once the pouch is in your SousVide Supreme and it won’t give you any issues during sealing.
- Our preferred method is to take advantage of all 3 button on the vacuum sealer (Vacuum seal, Cancel, and Seal Only). Prepare your pouch as you normally would and hit the Vacuum Seal button. Once the majority of the air is removed you will start to see the liquid being pulled up the pouch. At this point quickly press the ‘Cancel’ button, followed immediately by the ‘Seal Only’ button. This will maximize the amount of air removed while stopping the suction before the bag is sealed and before any liquid can reach the top of the pouch.
- A third option is to use the Archimedes Principle of Water Displacement in which you fill your sink or container with water, and submerge the pouch before using the ‘Seal Only’ button to close the pouch. If you’re feeling adventurous you can also combine Tips 2 and 3 to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
Sealing ‘Bone-In’ Meats
- If you’re having trouble sealing meats with the bone left in because the bone is puncturing the pouch, use some tinfoil to wrap around the exposed bone area before sealing. This will protect the pouch from any sharp edges that may pose a concern.
- One thing you want to remember after you remove the food from the pouch and before searing on the grill, in a pan, or with a blowtorch, is to pat the surface of your food with a paper towel to remove the moisture on the exterior of your food. You want to sear it for a very short amount of time (20-30 seconds per side) on very high heat and if there is a lot of moisture on the exterior of the food, it will take longer to evaporate this moisture and you will need to sear it longer to achieve the exterior browning you desire. This added time can quickly start overcooking the interior and can ruin the amazing results you just achieved by cooking it sous vide.
For Sous Vide Recipes, Cooking Tips, Industry News and more like Cedarlane Culinary on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. If you are interested in purchasing a SousVide Supreme or learning more, please contact Cedarlane Culinary.
The competition had dishes featuring wild blueberries going head to head for guests to sample and vote. Michelle Edgar of The Sweet Escape presented a wild blueberry cheesecake éclair, while Farzam Fallah of Richmond Station, created a duck liver mousse on deep fried French toast with a wild blueberry whiskey sauce.
Along with the sweet and savoury blueberry treats, an original cocktail, The Van Dyk’s, was crafted by Drake mixologist, Gord Hannah.
The Van Dyk’s
- 1/4 muddled grapefruit
- 1.5 oz Maker’s Mark
- .5 oz Creme de Violet
- 1.5 oz Van Dyk’s wild blueberry juice*
- .25 oz lemongrass syrup
- Shake ingredients with ice, serve in rocks glass over ice.
- Garnish with grapefruit peel and frozen wild blueberries.
The Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) is an international trade association of growers and processors of wild blueberries from Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Maine, dedicated to bringing the wild blueberry health story and unique wild advantages to consumers and the trade worldwide. For recipes, nutritional information or to learn more about wild blueberries visit wildblueberries.com or follow @WildBBerries4U on Twitter.
Boulart produces a bread that combines traditional, artisan bread making with modern convenience. Boulart carefully selects its ingredients, specifically top-quality unbleached, untreated flour, filtered water, and sea salt. They then utilize a long fermentation time, which allows the dough to fully develop nuanced flavors and aromas. The result is a fabulous looking bread with a crisp, golden crust, a moist and tender honeycombed crumb, and a delicate, inviting taste.
Chef Rodney Bowers’, Hey Meatball, is located at 719 College St. Located at Crawford & College in the heart of Toronto’s little Italy, Hey Meatball! boasts all Farm-to-table ingredients, sourcing everything offered to customers within a 100 miles radius. Also try their natural sodas and soft serve ice-cream! Daily hand made pastas are also available as side dishes as well as vegan options. Make sure to check out his other restaurant Hey!, located at 89 Roncesvalles with a more of a sit down feel (think less meatball sandwiches, and more salads, pasta and meat).
Looking for something sure to impress, try this molten chocolate lava cake recipe! It only takes a few minutes to make, and will definitely make a great impression. Here are some more Foodea.com recipes, videos and tips to help you enjoy your food as much as the day itself!
- Pan-Seared Halibut with Tomato Bell Pepper Olive Ragu
- Sweet Beet and Apple Soup with Boar Bacon, Walnut and Apple Topping
- Cranberry Kumquat Compote with Dried Cherries and Persimmons
- Pasta with Clams
- Dijon Crusted Pork Roast
- Shrimp Cold Rolls with Spicy Mango Ginger Dip
- Panko and Tempura Battered Cocktail Wieners
- White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti
- Summer Berry Terrine
- Strawberry Shortcakes
Looking for more romantic Valentine’s food ideas? Try making a Steak au Poivre, or Seafood Paella. How about making some homemade pasta, our favourite is Lidia Bastianich’s recipe. Still hungry? The Food Network, Epicurious, and All Recipes also have great guides to Valentine’s Day eats.
Looking for more drink options? Pair your special meal with Love Cassis Aperitvio from Sandbanks Winery presents. Love is a blend of white wine and organic Canadian cassis and is available from LCBO Vintages. For something extra special, create your own molecular cocktail using our Molecular Mixology Kit. The MOLECULE-R Cocktail R-Évolution Molecular Mixology Kit includes everything you need to create original drinks with caviar beads that burst in the mouth, light airs and gelified alcohols.